Young Invincibles Expresses Support for College Transparency Act of 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 15, 2017
Contact: Sarah Schultz, sarah.schultz@younginvincibles.org, 202.734.6510

[Washington DC]- Today, a bipartisan group of US Senators introduced the College Transparency Act of 2017, a bill that would modernize our higher education data infrastructure by providing much needed outcomes information, while safeguarding student privacy and security. The bill from Senators Cassidy (R-LA), Hatch (R-UT), Warren (D-MA) and Whitehouse (D-RI) would ensure that vital metrics, including program-level graduation rates, loan repayment rates and job outcomes, are available to students. Those metrics would also be disaggregated by race, ethnicity, and Pell-status, among other crucial data sets.

The bill will simultaneously protect student privacy by explicitly prohibiting collecting student health records, disciplinary history, immigration status or national origin, or religion. The bill also restricts how other federal agencies can access and use the system, and prohibits using the system to take action against an individual student. Young Invincibles is happy to support the College Transparency Act, and urges the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to take up the bill.

Young Invincibles’ Government Affairs Director Reid Setzer added, “This bill would create a secure postsecondary data system that would benefit policymakers, institutions, and most importantly, students. Currently, students and their families are left in the dark when it comes to accessing basic information on whether students attending specific schools and enrolled in specific programs succeed. For example, we don’t have a clear, complete picture of how many students in a certain program graduate, get a job in the field they studied, or if they are able to pay back their loans. This bill will enable students and families to make better informed decisions, ease the burden on colleges and universities, and give policymakers a better idea of how taxpayer dollars should be invested. The bill also takes impressive measures to protect sensitive personal information, which we know is critically important to today’s students.”

Daniel Niersbach, President of the Indiana University Student Association, expressed support for the bill: “The current student record ban doesn’t empower our youth to make the right choices for themselves when it comes to higher education. Rather, it forces them to take chances and chase assumptions, when major investments are on the line. The Indiana University Student Association is in support of the College Transparency Act of 2017 because students need and deserve more accurate, accessible, and comprehensive information regarding one of the most important decisions of their lives.”

Sammy Geisinger, Executive Director of the Association of Big 10 Students said: “When I was searching for schools, information about the outcomes of majors or programs was hard to come by. Even as an enrolled student, I’m curious about job prospects and the career path that I’ve chosen and want to know how other graduates from my school are doing in the workforce. We spend a lot of time and money on college, and this data system will help students make more informed decisions on how to plan their educations and careers.”

The bill would achieve many of the principles laid out in the Student Agenda for Postsecondary Data Reform, a collection of student asks signed on by organizations representing over one million students.  We enthusiastically endorse these provisions for their role in protecting student privacy.

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